I was able to get a couple of pictures of the lions themselves, but they're not terrific. The pictures, I mean. The lions themselves are gorgeous. Here are a couple of the better photos:
I like this particular picture because of the eyes that are glowing from within. You can probably tell from his body stance that these youngsters haven't quite gotten used to the throngs of people watching them from over the fence. Last night was only the second that they were on display - both nights "members only" - and today they become a permanent exhibit. I expect it won't take them long, though: their playfulness was already much in evidence last night.
This is a picture that Sarah really likes. There is a tunnel under the lion habitat with windows onto the exhibit; this tunnel leads to the rest of the African Savannah walk. I believe what we are seeing here are people coming out the other side of the tunnel; however, in this picture it looks like these people are in the exhibit (with their images being reflected by the glass) and this lion is staring down at them. Really spooky!
The last time we were at the Zoo - almost exactly a month earlier - two new penguin chicks had just been hatched. Both survived their earliest perils, bringing the brood count to three this season. They have been on display only a day or two so we had to have a look at them. I mean, obviously. We couldn't get as close to the glass as last time, so here is the best shot I could take of the beautiful, downy babies. The one standing at the back of the enclosure is easy to spot; you may have to peer a little bit harder to make out the second one, prostrate in front of the first.
We went to see the lions first, doubled back to check on the penguin chicks, spent some time with the giraffes who were out in their pen (where I hadn't seen them in a while), watched the hyenas chase each other around at full tilt for a minute, saw a rare appearance of the African porcupine, then went back to see the lions while it was a little quieter. While we were there the second time, the skies suddenly grew unbelievably dark, like a scene out of the movie Twister. It was really menacing and we decided to just get back to the car as fast as we could. We could see lightning in the area before we made it but we didn't get wet and managed to outpace the rain on our way home. It didn't hit our neck of the woods, in East York, until much later but it was pretty fierce once it got to us. I hope all the Zoo workers got to cover before the worst of it hit them out there.
Predictably, both Sarah and I were much more relaxed on our drive home than we had been all week. I'm starting to wonder if I might need to make a visit to the Zoo a weekly occurrence for the rest of this summer!